Factors Affecting Women's Election to Undergo Bilateral Mastectomy Identified

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Physicians and cancer survivors influence women undergoing bilateral mastectomy as their treatment for breast cancer.
Physicians and cancer survivors influence women undergoing bilateral mastectomy as their treatment for breast cancer.

ORLANDO, FL—Physicians and cancer survivors are the primary and secondary sources of information, respectively, influencing women to undergo a bilateral mastectomy as their treatment for breast cancer when there is only known cancer in one breast, according to a study presented at the ONS 40th Annual Congress.

The study was presented by Gayle Wilkins, MSN, RN, OCN®, of Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Forth Worth, Texas.

In this retrospective study, researchers, including oncology nurse navigators and a nurse scientist, surveyed 156 women who elected to have a contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM).

Of those, 90 patients completed the survey within 3 months. A preliminary analysis showed a strong correlation between CPM and reconstruction (92%).

Researchers found that more than 90% of respondents listed physicians as their primary source of information and 28% listed cancer survivors as a secondary influence.

The findings suggest that women undergoing reconstruction as part of the initial CPM procedure and fear of influence may be identified as other sources of influence.

The researchers conclude that their study findings will help health care providers know how to handle patients' anxiety and fear of recurrence when providing education about cancer therapy options.

The number of women electing to undergo CPM has greatly increased in recent years, particularly after celebrities select CPM, but there is a concern that patients with breast cancer are opting for this option unnecessarily.

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